Defensive tackle Kyle Williams was not expected to be a solid fit in the Buffalo Bills’ new defensive scheme for the 2010 season. He was considered undersized and had already enjoyed a reasonable amount of success in the 4-3.
However he had an outstanding season playing end and tackle in both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts throughout the year. Should the Buffalo Bills sit or start Kyle Williams for the 2011 season?
Here are some of the reasons to sit and start Kyle Williams for the 2011 season. All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com and NFL.com.
#1. Average Against the Run
At his best, Williams struggles to stop the run. Although he plays hard and has decent technique, he isn’t strong enough to handle regular double teams or larger offensive linemen.
He also wore down a bit towards the end of the season. Williams was playing closer to the 295 to 300 pound range instead of the 306 pounds he was listed at. It’s unclear whether that was on purpose as his role changed.
#2. Overly Aggressive
Although Williams’ strength is penetrating the line of scrimmage, he would overrun the play at times. This showed up most on running plays. With Williams up the field, a running back was able to cut back into his assigned gap. However it did allow Williams to get a jump on blockers during pass plays.
#1. Excellent at Collapsing the Pocket
Williams collected 5.5 sacks during the 2010 season, a number which led the entire team. At times, he was providing the Buffalo Bills with their only pass-rush.
#2. High Motor
Williams consistently gave a high effort. Despite playing in an unfavorable scheme during the early games, he worked hard and didn’t complain about his role.
Williams also posted one of his best stat lines in a big game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had 10 tackles and 2 sacks.
#3. A Second Season in the Same Scheme
The franchise should be able to upgrade some of the talent around Williams after the 2011 draft and free agency. Although his tackle numbers may drop from the 77 he had in 2010, Williams may be able to post increased sack numbers with a better overall defensive unit.
In addition, Williams will likely be more familiar with the play calls and audibles after 2 full offseasons in the same defensive scheme.
At the beginning of the season when Williams was primarily playing 3-4 nose tackle, it was clear he was a poor fit. He simply doesn’t have the strength to hold up as strictly a 3-4 nose tackle.
However as the season went on, defensive coordinator George Edwards began calling more fronts that incorporated Williams’ strengths. Williams was able to play more of a penetrating, attacking role instead of holding up double teams as an anchor.
I think Williams should start for the Buffalo Bills for the 2011 season, but not at nose tackle. If the team stays with the multiple fronts and defensive looks that they were showing at the end of the 2010 season, Williams is a solid starter. If the team reverts to the stricter 3-4 that they were playing at the beginning of the 2010 season, Williams should sit.
ESPN.com Kyle Williams’ Player Page. January 12th, 2011.
NFL.com Kyle Williams’ Career Stats. January 12th, 2011.